After easily beating three other Republican challengers in the GOP primary, UPS pilot Todd Lally is set to challenge U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth for Kentucky’s 3rd congressional district seat. And despite being in a race that was largely under the radar, the political newcomer enters the contest with a noted boost from the Tea Party movement and a set of firm conservative principles to match.
There is the question of money, however.
From cn|2 Politics:
But Lally must play catch-up financially. Yarmuth entered May with more than a half-million dollars in the bank, according to his most recent Federal Election Report. Lally, at that point, had just $25,811 heading into the final three weeks of the primary after raising just over $108,000.
Lally also said he expects to tap the support of the tea party movement, which was active in Louisville during the spring but didn’t formally pick sides in the four-way Republican primary for Congress.
With the election more than five months away it shouldn’t be difficult for Lally, who serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Kentucky National Guard, to contrast his differences with the two-term congressman on a number of issues, including abortion, gun rights and health care reform.
For instance, Lally has already chosen to pick a fight over gays serving in the military. The top gun conservative told cn|2 Politics that he opposed Yarmuth’s vote to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which if approved by the U.S. Senate would overturn the controversial law.
“This is not about gays in the military,” Lally told cn|2 Politics. “All they’re being asked to do is to leave their behavior quiet. So in that aspect, I would have voted no (to repeal). It’s been effective so far, with peace in the ranks and with high morale.”
By positioning himself in favor of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Lally is sure to gain support amongst the GOP conservative base and Tea Party movement. In a recent poll conducted by the University of Washington, for instance, 52 percent of Tea Party supporters believe that gays and lesbians have become too powerful.
However, in a solidly Democratic district that encompasses most of Louisville it’s a gamble that could alienate moderate Republicans, who have been generally supportive of gay rights in Louisville, where a historic Fairness Ordinance has been on the books since 1999.
“It’s incredible to me a candidate this early in the race would make statements proving that he is so incredibly out of step with Louisville,” says Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, who also served as Yarmuth’s campaign spokesman back in 2008. “The repeal of ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ is one of the most common sense decisions that the majority of Americans agree with. And if we polled the citizens of Louisville it would be the same. These statements put Todd Lally in bed with Frank Simon, and it makes him Louisville’s last choice.”